Philadelphia: the home of the cheesesteak, the central hub of rowdy sports fans, the resting grounds of the Liberty Bell, and birthplace of semantics such as “jawn.” If there’s one thing that Philadelphians can agree on, it’s our shared Philly pride. Adding on to our extensive list of praise-worthy accomplishments is our most recent triumph of not only beating the Patriots in Super Bowl LII but also obtaining our first ever Super Bowl win. If it was believed that Philadelphians were proud before this momentous event, then Sunday, February 4, 2018 has most definitely proved everyone wrong.
Philadelphia is truly a special place that I am proud to say has a place in my heart (even though I’m from the suburbs right outside of Philly, it still counts). First, let’s start off with indeed the most important factor in any great city: the food. Immediately, cheesesteaks come to mind. You simply can’t say that you’re from Philly without having feasted on a proper cheesesteak. Of course, the battle between Pats and Genos is well-known, with people making the trip to the corner of East Passyunk Ave. to compare the two and see what all the hype is really about. Whether you order your steak as the classic “Whiz wit” or some other variation, you’re guaranteed to enjoy the simplicity of such a simple food – something that not even the greatest five-star chefs can match. Philadelphia, however, isn’t just known for its cheesesteaks. Philly soft pretzels could put Auntie Anne’s out of business in a second, and there’s nothing better than a warm pretzel (or a dozen) right out of the oven. I’m sure that many kids can relate to the happiness that I used to feel on pretzel days in school and the joy of finding fifty cents tucked away in my backpack so that I could buy one. Another Philly staple is the Tastykake, a classic treat that has recently expanded to other parts of the country. Whether it’s Butterscotch Krimpets, Kandy Kakes, or Cupcakes, Tastykakes cannot be rivaled – sorry Hostess and Little Debbie! For those of you who haven’t had a Tastykake, please, do yourself a favor, run to the nearest POD immediately, and purchase one. You can thank me later! The last, but certainly not least, Philadelphia favorite is water ice. Of course, the first disclaimer that I’d like to stress is not something about how satisfying water ice is on a hot summer day or how smooth the ice is or even how many flavors there are. Instead, I’d like to make a point about the pronunciation; for traditional Philadelphians, it’s “wooder” ([wʊɾəɹ] for all of the linguistics fans out there). Now that we’ve settled that debate, back to the water ice. There’s just something about a cup full of artificially dyed and flavored ice topped with fluffy, creamy soft serve swirled to perfection and bathed in rainbow jimmies – yes, I’m referring to “sprinkles” …just another Philadelphia semantic example with no explanation. Classic Philadelphia foods have the power to take us to a game at Citizens Bank Park, to the first day of Spring and long lines for free water ice, and to the red benches outside of Pat’s.
Although traditional Philly foods have satisfied our city’s stomachs for years, the history and depth of our city have also satisfied our spirits for years as well – encompassing the pride for which Philadelphians are known. Philadelphia is rich in culture, and even though some customs are quite random, they are undoubtedly ours. Traditionally, Philadelphia is well-known for the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, City Hall, the Walnut Street Theater, colorful murals, and the Philadelphia Zoo. Its Museum of Art exhibits magnificent artwork yet also offers the perfect opportunity to run up the “Rocky Steps” and throw your hands up in the air just as Rocky is shown doing in his nearby statue. Another landmark representative of Philadelphia is none other than the Reading Terminal Market – a true cultural explosion. One of America’s largest and oldest markets, the Reading Terminal Market offers everything from an irresistible roast pork sandwich to uniquely-flavored donuts and from a made-to-order cannoli to duck fat grilled cheese sandwiches. Long story short, the Reading Terminal Market has something for everyone, and almost everyone is guaranteed a “food baby” after this experience. The Mummers Parade is an event that is an additional Philly favorite. Each New Year’s Day, clubs compete in four categories: comics, fancies, string bands, and fancy brigades. With ornate costumes, scenery, and elaborate performances that take a year to organize, the Mummers Parade is an enjoyable, classic way to ring in a new year, and it’s almost sacrilegious to not watch it for at least five minutes on the first of January. Finally, one of Philly’s weirdest events is none other than the Wing Bowl, a contest for eating, you guessed it: chicken wings. This event has gained such popularity over the years that it is now held in the Wells Fargo Center, home to the Philadelphia Flyers and Sixers. What these examples hopefully demonstrate is that Philadelphia has a lot going on; from historical landmarks to contemporary happenings, we have plenty in which to immerse ourselves.
While our food is delicious and our city is thriving, there is one thing that brings Philadelphians together like no other: Philadelphia sports. Anyone who has ever been to a Sixers, Phillies, Flyers, or Eagles game will hopefully be able to attest to this fact. There’s no rhyme or reason for why Philly fans have been known to tailgate for hours on end, to paint their faces and entire bodies, and to, at times – make pretty foolish decisions. At least some of our dedication, however, can be attested to the fact that we love our city and want to prove it on the fields, on the ice, and on the court. Now, multiply this spirit by about 100%, and you’ll get what winning our first Super Bowl has done to make our city even greener, even louder, and even prouder. Let’s just say that “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”…especially after we win the Super Bowl. I’m sure that many Philly fans can agree with me when I say that this Sunday night game was nail-biting, breath-holding, and touchdown-calculating. The road to this victory was long, having lost Carson Wentz to an ACL injury mid-season – to which I can only say “Hold up wait a minute, y’all thought I was finished?” (special shout out to Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares,” the Eagles’ Super Bowl entrance). True Eagles fans, however, never gave up on our chance to finally bring home a ring, and it was evident that this one game would magically bring our city together like never before. Pretzels were sold shaped like bones to symbolize the fact that we were the “underdogs,” buildings and bridges donned green lights, offices allowed everyone to wear forgo suits and business attire and instead don Eagles gear, and police greased poles to prevent people from climbing them in celebration. As evidenced by the happenings of the parade, however, even slippery poles won’t stop an excited Eagles fan. For me, this was quite the experience, being the only Eagles fan in my friend group. Everyone was instructed that if they would be watching with me, they were not permitted to say anything negative about the Eagles, and everyone was expected to eat an Eagles cupcake (generously provided by my mom) for good measure. I will admit that it was quite humoring to be able to celebrate my victory by rubbing it in their faces that my team won and that theirs didn’t – take that Giants fans!
Philadelphia’s recent Super Bowl win has enlightened my mind to appreciate my city even more so than before. I am proud of our quirks and traditions and of the spirit that we have in celebrating all that our city has given to us. Being away from everything – especially the traditional Super Bowl party atmosphere, fireworks, and parade – was difficult, but thankfully, my dad went out at 4:45 on the following Monday morning to get his hands on a Super Bowl t-shirt for me so that I could still feel included. I think that the only way to properly end this blog post is with E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES…until next Super Bowl when we go for win number two!